Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) have a preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance (eg. a large nose). This preoccupation results in extreme emotional distress and has an impact on everyday life in school, work, home or other important life functions. It is common that individuals with BDD attempt to correct these perceived malformations through cosmetic surgery or dermatological treatments. Individuals with BDD-like symptoms can also suffer with an eating disorder or other psychological problems such as anxiety disorders.
BDD is linked to obsessive compulsive disorders, as sufferers may engage in compulsively checking their appearance, or avoiding mirrors and obsessively thinking about their appearance. In severe cases, the sufferer can become house-bound, or suicidal.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with exposure therapy has been found to be effective, coupled with the use of antidepressants to increase the serotonin levels in the brain. However, as the sufferer becomes more chronically unwell over time, early treatment is linked to a greater recovery rate.
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